Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Unions Wrote Radical Employment Bill

Release Richard Prebble

At 4.30pm on the Thursday before Easter, the government dropped an enormous quantity of documents on the Employment Relations Bill at our office.

ACT had requested these documents under the Official Information Act. This dump immediately prior to Easter was designed to avoid media scrutiny. Margaret Wilson’s staff deliberately kept the documents from a number of Press Gallery journalists.

As a surreptitious act, it backfired. The documents revealed how much power the trade unions have over the coalition and this bill.

As ACT’s Letter From Wellington has pointed out, this bill goes much further than either of the Labour or Alliance manifestos.

The documents reveal a secret meeting with “Labour Party interest groups” on December 22 1999. The meeting decided to abolish the Employment Tribunal, to limit the role of the Court of Appeal (a body the unions do not like) and the introduction of the mediation/arbitration model – all of which is contrary to their election promises.

The meeting minutes make it clear what the new law is designed to do to;

 “Rebuilding collectivism through the promotion of unionism”  “De-legalisation of employment relations to assist unions to function more effectively”

The government has suppressed who attended the meeting but ACT understands that the trade unionists Mike Smith of the Engineers Union and Darien Fenton of the Service Workers’ Union were at the meeting dictating the policy.

The documents make it clear that Laila Harre’s claim to have been responsible for the changes to the bill is false – Labour Party affiliated unions wrote this bill.

Statistics just released show there were 32 work stoppages in the 1999 calendar year. This number is the lowest recorded in a calendar year since 1935. This bill will reverse this trend and destroy the competitiveness of many businesses in New Zealand.


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>


Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election